Wallace v. Commissioner of Social Security
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS: for 15 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Commissioner of Social Security, 24 Report and Recommendations. For the reasons stated above, this Court adopts Magistrate Judge Smith's R eport and Recommendation in its entirety. Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED. The decision of the ALJ is deemed vacated and the case is remanded to the administrative agency for further proceedings consistent with this Order and the R&R. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate the motion (ECF No. 15) and to close this case accordingly. (Signed by Judge Nelson Stephen Roman on 9/11/2017) Copies Mailed by Chambers. (ap) Modified on 9/11/2017 (ap).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
BENNIE 1. WALLA CE,
-againstNANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT
NELSONS. ROMAN, United States District Judge:
Bennie Wallace ("Plaintiff"), proceeding prose, seeks review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
of a decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant") denying his claim for
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). Defendant
filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).
(ECF No. 15.) Plaintiff opposed the motion on the basis he suffers from an injmy that renders
him disabled as defined by relevant law. (ECF No. 18.) Pursuantto 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), this case was previously referred to Magistrate Judge Lisa
Margaret Smith. On August 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge Smith issued a Repo1t and
Recommendation ("R&R"), recommending that Defendant's motion be denied. (ECF No. 24.)
For the following reasons, the Comt adopts Magistrate Judge Smith's R&R in its entirety,
Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is Denied, the decision of the ALJ is vacated,
and the case is remanded to the agency for further proceedings consistent with this Order and the
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Chambers of Nelson S. Roman, U.S.D.J.
Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a decision by the Commissioner of Social Security. The
Court assumes familiarity with the underlying facts and prior proceedings in this case, as set
forth in the R&R. Plaintiff timely commenced the instant action after the Appeals Council denied
his request for review of an Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ") determination that denied him
benefits. While the Complaint is dated March 14, 2014, the action was commenced on March
17, 2014, the date the Complaint was actually filed. (ECF No. 2.) On September 22, 2014,
Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings on the basis the administrative record support's
the ALJ's finding that Plaintiff is not disabled, and, therefore not eligible for disability benefits.
On August 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge Smith issued the R&R recommending, inter alia,
that this Court deny Defendant's motion. Neither patty has filed written objections to the R & R.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A magistrate judge may "hear a pretrial matter dispositive of a claim or defense" if so
designated by a district court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(l); accord28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l)(B). In
such a case, the magistrate judge "must enter a recommended disposition, including, if
appropriate, proposed findings of fact." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(l); accord28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l).
Where a magistrate judge issues a report and recommendation,
[w]ithin fomteen days after being served with a copy, any party may serve and file written
objections to such proposed findings and recommendations as provided by rules of comt.
A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those pottions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of
the comt may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in pait, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l); accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2), (3). However, "[t]o accept the repo1t and
recommendation of a magistrate, to which no timely objection has been made, a district court
need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record." Wilds v. United
Parcel Serv., Inc., 262 F. Supp. 2d 163, 169 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (quoting Nelson v. Smith, 618 F.
Supp. 1186, 1189 (S.D.N.Y. 1985)); accord Caidor v. Onondaga County, 517 F.3d 601, 604 (2d
Cir. 2008) ("[F]ailure to object timely to a magistrate's report operates as a waiver of any further
judicial review of the magistrate's decision.") (quoting Small v. Sec. of HHS, 892 F.2d 15, 16 (2d
Cir. 1989); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72 advisory committee note (1983 Addition, Subdivision (b))
("When no timely objection is filed, the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error
on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.").
Here, neither party has filed an objection to the R&R issued by Magistrate Judge Smith.
Accordingly, the Court reviews the recommendation for clear error.
The Court finds no error on the face of the R&R, and adopts Judge Smith's R&R in its
entirety. Judge Smith determined "the ALJ failed to fully develop the record when he
acknowledged a clear gap in Plaintiffs psychiatric treatment records but made no effmts to
remedy it." R&R at 32. The ALJ also provided an inadequate basis for assigning the requisite
deference to the opinions of Plaintiffs treating physicians. Lastly, by committing legal errors, as
previously discussed and as outlined in the R&R more fully, the Court is unable to determine
whether the ALJ's ultimate decision is suppmted by substantial evidence.
For the reasons stated above, this Court adopts Magistrate Judge Smith's Report and
Recommendation in its entirety. Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED.
The decision of the ALJ is deemed vacated and the case is remanded to the administrative
agency for further proceedings consistent with this Order and the R&R. The Clerk of Comt is
respectfully directed to terminate the motion (ECF No. 15) and to close this case accordingly.
September LL 2017
White Plains, New York
NELSON S. ROMAN
United States District Judge
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